St. Mary's Sky Priester drives to the basket during a...

St. Mary's Sky Priester drives to the basket during a CHSAA state Class AA girls basketball semifinal against Christ the King on Friday at Holy Trinity. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

The St. Mary’s girls basketball program’s search for a third straight CHSAA state Class AA title came to an end Friday night.

The Gaels could not find their shooting stroke and never led in a state semifinal matchup with Christ the King at Holy Trinity High School. The Royals led by double digits for the final 25:51 in an emphatic 64-41 win to secure a trip to Saturday’s state title game against St. Joseph by the Sea at Hofstra.

“Christ the King is a very good team,” St. Mary’s coach Kevin White said. “I thought we played very, very hard. I thought we competed. I thought our immaturity at times showed.”

Destiny Robinson scored 14 points for St. Mary’s, which finished 18-10. Robinson had five of the Gaels’ 14 made field goals.

“I’m gonna remember the change we made since the beginning [of the season],” the sophomore said.  “Since there’s seven transfers and seven sophomores, we made a great transition to this point we got to. I think we played really hard. Some of us were in foul trouble, but we still stuck through. We played hard until the last second.”

Aiyanna Culver and Olivia Vukosa each scored 18 points for Christ the King (28-3). The 6-5 Vukosa is a five-star prospect and the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2026, according to ESPN.com. Her presence in the paint disrupted the Gaels’ ability to generate consistent offense.

Christ the King held a 20-4 lead after the first quarter. St. Mary's got within 37-24 by halftime and made it 37-27 on Sky Priester's three-pointer  1:57 into the third quarter, but the Gaels could not inch closer.

“We’d come down, we’d have an open look, and we cut it 10 and we miss a nice open shot,” White said. “We make a couple of those shots, it turns things around a little bit, gives a little bit of momentum. But I thought they played very, very hard.”

Christ the King held St. Mary’s scoreless for the first 3:05 of the fourth quarter, extending its lead to 51-33. The Royals, who scored 34 points in the paint, led by as many as 27 points with two minutes remaining.

While the Gaels’ state title streak ended after losing four seniors from last season's team, just one senior graduates before next season.

“They’ve grown dramatically,” White said. “We had seven transfers, I had seven sophomores. They all had to find their way, find their roles. But between the beginning of the year and now, the transformation’s been fantastic.”

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